Philippines' Duterte under fire for condom remarks, frigate deal

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Feb. 19, 2018 at 2:29 AM
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Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A Philippine presidential aide who had supported a South Korean supplier in a frigate deal is planning to testify as President Rodrigo Duterte may be falling under criticism for the deal, and making remarks that deride safe sex practices.

Christopher "Bong" Go, Duterte's chief executive assistant, said he would testify before the Philippine senate regarding a $865.3-million frigate deal involving combat management systems from Hyundai Heavy Industries, local news service The Inquirer reported Monday.

Duterte's predecessor Benigno Aquino III negotiated the acquisition, and the current leader's administration signed the deal in August 2016, according to the report.

The Philippine government approved the deal despite complaints of it being "grossly disadvantageous," according to the country's navy chief Vice. Adm. Ronald Joseph Mercado.

Duterte's administration is coming under scrutiny as the president, who has been criticized for his nationwide drug raids, is turning his attention to condoms and safe sex practices.

The Rappler reported Saturday Duterte had recently told repatriating Filipino workers they should avoid using condoms because they aren't pleasurable.

They should "eat" them instead, he said.

Critics including analysts at Human Rights Watch are slamming the remarks.

Carlos Conde, said the Philippines has the "fastest growing epidemic" of human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV.

"Instead of criticizing condoms as a pleasure inhibitor, Duterte should take meaningful action to protect the health of Filipinos by backing urgently needed policy changes to expand the accessibility and use of condoms in the Philippines," Conde said.

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